Category Archives: the gift of travel

The Evolution of a Journey

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How often do you take a minute and think about the evolution of your own journey? Sometimes it happens at the end of a year, after achieving a milestone or ticking off a bucket list adventure, but how often do you really stop and think about how you got to where you are? Think about it – if Jane Goodall had never left London, if Sir Edmond Hilary had never left New Zealand and if Rosa Parks had never taken a seat on that bus – where would their journeys have gone? We may not all be explorers or activists, but in our own way, we are each on our own journey. If Ferris Bueller taught us anything it’s that ‘Life moves pretty fast sometimes. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it’. What’s the evolution of your journey?

For some of us, we might reach all the way back to childhood to remember what we were like as kids, what captured our interests in our teenage years or to that first job we ever had. For some of us, we might head to the type of childhood we had, what activities we were involved in and what we thought we’d be doing in those five or ten years after high school. Still for others, that evolution may have started in the last decade, the last years or the last few months – perhaps you’re on the verge of the shift right now. What’s the evolution of your journey?

I’m not certain exactly how far back I’d reach to begin my story. Could I start with my childhood, upbringing, sleep away camp experience and university adventures – sure I could. While all of those pieces make up who I am and how I see the world, wherever travel enters my story is where the evolution begins. It could be Disney family holidays or Montauk beach play dates. It could be camp counselors from abroad who first brought a love of accents and culture into my world. I think they’re a part of it all – but I think a turning point is that first trip to Israel at the malleable age of 20. It was over 25 years ago, now, but I can still smell the aromas of the shuk, feel out of breath from my first ever hike, glimpse the desert stars from a Bedouin tent, taste the salt from the Dead Sea and close my eyes to experience the epic, brilliant sunrise atop Masada. And then, months after my return, I can still feel my eyes dance and the corners of my mouth upturn upon retelling the story to my Aunt at Thanksgiving. Without ever knowing it, I think that’s the beginning of my tipping point. What’s yours?

Like all journeys, there are twists and turns, stubbed toes and busted ankles, mountains to climb and rivers to cross. And at each of those crossroads, we have a choice. The Broadway show, If/Then is quite literally modeled after that choice. At a pinnacle point, life could go one way or the other and although we’d like to, rarely do we glimpse what it would have been like had we taken that other turn. When I backpacked Europe with friends after university, I couldn’t possibly imagine how much travel would impact my life’s journey. If you asked me 25 years ago if I would have become a teacher, I would have said no. If you asked me five years into teaching if I would ever leave before retirement, I would have said no. If you asked me if I saw myself leaving the state of NY, I might have hesitated and thought, maybe, but there were too many things I believed for which I had to stay. We really never know what’s around that next bend in the road or the river.

Who would have ever thought travel would shift my perspective and change my life as much as it has – not me, that’s for sure. But, once that first spark happened – the feeling was too good to ever want to put out. Travel and what comes with it has been a part of my journey for more than half of my life now. It’s opened doors I never knew existed, introduced me to people who have helped shape my life and shared experiences with me I never thought possible. Travel has ebbed my doubts and anxiety. Travel has given me hope. Travel has given me wings and travel has brought me the love of my life. I can honestly say, I wouldn’t be me, without that travel attitude, that travel perspective and that travel gratitude.

It was around 20 years ago that I was fully invested in my summer camp work and began my teaching career. I loved those aspects of life, the lessons they taught me and the people they brought into my world. Fifteen years ago I traveled to the other side of the world again and again, my journey evolved. 10 years ago I was on a leave of absence from teaching, living abroad and in the middle of chasing the sun on a one-year honeymoon around the globe. 5 years ago we moved into our first apartment in San Diego and had no idea where life would take us – would we stay, for how long, would we like it here, would we make friends and all of the other ‘what if’s’ bombarded our thoughts. Today, we’ve shifted jobs (and one of us, careers) and coasts, once again love where we live and are truly happy at this point of the journey.

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Who knows where the road will lead, but, today, in this moment, in this space, I am grateful, I am hopeful and my heart is full. Wherever your journey takes you, do your best to find gratitude and joy amidst the ride.

The fullness of the moment

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Writing this feels like I’m channeling Sarah Jessica Parker’s character on Sex and the City as she gets an idea and continues on with – ‘I got to thinking’. At the yoga studio, Amy often reads from Judith Lasater’s A Year of Living Your Yoga. I liked the quotes so much, I actually got the book and am regularly impacted by its quote of the day. In Wednesday’s class she talked about the ‘wholeness of the moment’ and as we practiced on our mats, ‘I got to thinking’ – how can we embrace that wholeness of the moment feeling more often? Read the rest of this entry

Sitting with it all

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Denali National Park, Alaska - thegiftoftravel.wordpress.com

Have you ever had the thoughts that were constantly spinning in your head? You know, what you think you have to over analyze and then realize that you’re really over thinking and it’s not such a good thing. Have you heard the phrase, ‘sit with it’? Whether you’re a meditation guru, have random talks with your therapist or listen to the speeches of World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe – you may have (at one point or another) heard the phrase, ‘sit with it’. Read the rest of this entry

Seeking that true self

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the true self. Some people find it in their younger years and hold onto it. Others search for decades only to find out in their golden years that they’ve been living by the rules of others for sometime now. Whether it’s been from society, friends, family, religion, what you think you’re ‘supposed’ to do or based on what you’ve seen on television – the focus has been somewhere else, not on your true self. How do we bring that to the table? Read the rest of this entry

At home on the left coast

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We made it to San Diego

Exactly four years ago we arrived in San Diego. A cross country road trip (the first of four in four years) designed to plop us here for three months to avoid a New York winter has lasted far longer than we ever expected. What we thought would be a blip on the radar turned into a chosen city and a chosen home. Even when we thought about leaving, life turned us right back around. San Diego has been a far greater gift than we could have ever imagined. Read the rest of this entry

Awareness and awakenings on the mat

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Oh my goodness!!!!! A friend (and yoga teacher) of mine hugged me today and said, ‘Congratulations, yoga teacher’…..and she was talking to me!!! I can’t believe she said that out loud!

“You are never to old to set another goal or dream a new dream” – C.S. Lewis

It’s enlightening how goals and dreams change along the way. If you asked me years ago if I was ever going to want to be a yoga instructor I would have looked at you as if you were nuts – fast forward three weeks and I’ve finished a 200-hour yoga teacher training course at my home studio. WHAT? I know; I feel the very same way!

Yoga One San Diego Summer Intensive Teacher Training Class 2018

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Root to rise – on and off the mat

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Genius, she is. Once again, after class ended and I asked Amy why she thought I couldn’t quite grasp one particular pose – she knew exactly what to say. It wasn’t the fact that every body type has different possibilities. It wasn’t about my scoliosis and it wasn’t about anyone’s talent in yoga. And sure, it’s definitely got something to do with the internal and external rotation of the hips, but that’s not the point either. She said, ‘most of the time, in yoga, if you can’t get to a pose – the key is, sit up higher’.

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Be the change

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When I was little, I had a friend who lived around the corner. I can remember building forts out of couch cushions in her basement, creating chalk drawings on the driveway and playing spud on that lawn. But more importantly, I remember her grandparents. They had the most wonderful accents, the most genuine hearts and they were the first people I ever met with numbers tattooed on their arms. This Nana and Pop-Pop who adored a stranger from around the corner were the first Holocaust survivors I ever met. To this day, those adopted grandparents hold a very special place in my heart.

Conversation with Edie Eger Read the rest of this entry

Connections in movement and mindfulness – an interview with a passionate performance artist

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My best friend in high school wanted to be a dancer. I remember countless nights practicing with friends as she choreographed our performance for the Senior Show. When she majored in modern dance in college, I went to visit her and see all of her years of work come to fruition. This week it seems another part of life has come full circle. Read the rest of this entry

6 months

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Torrey Pines Natural Reserve

Don Mattingly was at the game, Piano Man was randomly selected for the karaoke section, there were friendly neighbors on either side of us and a stranger was dancing his heart out to stadium tunes – Dad was definitely with us at the baseball game last week. It’s been six months since that fateful day; it feels like worlds have shifted yet everything is standing still. Growth, change, sadness, grief, shift, confusion, thought, anger, disappointment, struggle – it’s all been there, but alongside it there’ve been rays of light, forward movement, slivers of calm, moments of joy and memories of smiles. These past six months have been quite the journey. Read the rest of this entry